I’m all for giving Grenadiers a revamp.
What role are they actually for?
Do they have a clear, cookie-cutter purpose?
These are questions are often asked, since the original AoE3, as there are units that have always had clearly-defined roles and Grenadiers ain’t one!
I’ve got specific artillery to take out buildings reasonably safely, I’ve got specific artillery to take out artillery and I’ve artillery that does a swell job of taking out infantry. I’ve even have Heavy infantry that do a reasonable job at seiging buildings but with the vulnerability of having to get close and being a good target for artillery. Grenadiers occupy an odd place in that they are just as vulnerable as their Musketeer/Pike buddies but have better range for siege along with area of attack. That’s it.
Why don’t re-tool them into being what they’re meant to be? Elite Musketeers with great seige.
In-game they should be seen as the ‘super’ musketeers and your elites - same musket range and attack as the standard Musketeer, however better melee damage, health and of course the grenades, which are solely seige attack items only. They still should be expensive compared to Musketeers and take 2 pop. This way they have a clearly defined role - your elite heavy infantry. They are too expensive to make solely over your Musketeers and take up valuable pop space, however having a few mixed in with your muskets would bolster that force plus give additional seige damage.
With this in mind:
Why build Musketeers then, if Grenadiers do a better Heavy Infantry role? Because they’re a lot cheaper and take less space! These guys are the bread and butter. You can field a bigger army of Musketeers than Grenadiers.
Do the Grenadiers fill a niche now? Yes, it’s the ‘does everything’ unit - if you have the resources and plenty of houses, why not train up a Heavy Infantry unit that does everything a Musketeer does, can defend itself better from cavalry and is far better taking down buildings?
Obviously as an Elite unit and balance in mind, they shouldn’t be the biggest ratio of your infantry forces so expense and pop space are the biggest barriers from having just these guys. Instead of pop space you could even swap the 2 pop for a hard build limit - what ever works for balance.
Combined units like Soldados can remain, though Grenadiers need to ‘top’ them by a small margin. Personally I’d also like to see Grenadiers as a unit availalble to every Euro civ (just as the very Euro forts and factories - all Euros wanted/used Grenadiers) by default but that’s another topic.
TLDR? Optics are wrong - Grenadiers shouldn’t be fleshy artillery units with no defined role - they should be your toughest Heavy Infantry (trainable via the Barracks this time) that out-perform but can never be massed as easily as Musketeers .